I am Rulon. (He is The Biggest Loser contestant that was busted this week for eating chips, candy, whatever in his room late at night.) I am the late night binge eater. It can be any food. Tuesday night (yes, after watching The Biggest Loser) it was tortilla chips. It can be fruit, ice cream, crackers--anything.
I have done this since I was a child. My parents would fall asleep before bedtime and their night-owl child would rummage through the house for anything to binge on. My mother, the cook from heaven, always had something stashed, even if it was frozen. Frozen homemade cookies are wonderful! Once it was even a bag of prunes--with no ill effects afterwards. I was busted when my dad found the empty bag and pits. Now, like a true addict a get a "hangover". I had might as well have had a drinking binge; after all, it feels the same--queasy stomach, headache and the guilt and total feeling of stupidity.
Why do I do this? I don't even know. I always have had portion control issues. Everyday stress, fear, etc are probably the root cause. Now I want to lose these pounds that I have gained and I keep sabotaging the process. For goodness sake, I know what to eat, how to exercise, but I keep doing this to myself.
In a recent Shape magazine article Jennipher Walters (FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com) outlined five symptoms of food addiction. I can check them off:
1.Food is all you think about--Not all but a lot
2.You want to stop but you can't--That's what this post is about...
3. You eat in secret or lie about how much you've eaten--Late night, alone seems to be a favorite M.O., but it isn't always in secret.
4.You eat beyond the point of fullness--I've ignored full so much that I don't even know what full really is anymore.
5.You are compelled to eat when you're not hungry or are feeling low. And I'll add or feeling great or just any excuse.
Also here's the link to a quiz from Eating Well Are You Addicted to Food Quiz. It called me food dependent which means I still need help...." Your results indicate that you might be "food dependent." For information and referrals to treatment providers and support groups, call the National Eating Disorder Association's helpline, 800-931-2237, or visit NationalEatingDisorders.org. You can also find a clinical psychologist or clinical health psychologist (PhD or PsyD) who specializes in disordered eating or weight management through the American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator (locator.apa.org) or seek support through Overeaters Anonymous (oa.org)." OK tell me something I didn't know.
I won't bore you with all of the scientific stuff about dopamine receptors vs environment and this study and that study. I'll just say from first hand experience, this is just like being a drug or alcohol addict. Same feelings, same urges, same, same, same.
Since I can't afford therapy for this, I'll have to work with it like I have in the past. Normally my Weight Watchers routines help, but this time it's not working. Really, I'm not working. I have to buckle down and remember Eating Well's list which does remind me of some other tools I have. After all I do have that gold key.....
Here are Eating Well's tips:
1. Write it down---if I would only consistently do this.....
2. Plan an occasional treat.. Have it in a restaurant instead of home. Don't bring that cheesecake or chips into the house. Order it out in the open where you can manage your portion size.
3. No grazing...3 meals and an afternoon snack. Have a little protein at each one and don't get too hungry.
4. No eating in front of the tv... or desk, or computer, or in the car. This stops the mindless eating.
5. Be prepared for surprise temptations...Have your script ready. (Isn't this a Weight Watchers tool too?) I'll add don't be sabotaged by anything anyone offers you or buys for you or is on sale. (On sale--my favorite.)
6. Have healthy options for emotions--meditation,exercise, etc
7. Hide tempting foods...I am less likely to eat them if I put them in the back of the cabinet as soon as I get home from the store. If it's out on the kitchen table or counter its gone!
8. Make it a hassle to overeat.......Bag up your portions when you get home from the store; use smaller plates, and my restaurant favorite is order a to-go container when the waiter brings the meal. Place half of the meal into the container and close it. And always share dessert.
OK. We're starting over...again on Monday. (Dr. Phil isn't here so I don't have to start right here, right now.) Some of my friends/co-workers/weight-loss challenge buddies are heading to the gym at lunch time starting next week so it will be a good time to re-new. Wish me luck, think positive thoughts, say a little prayer for me. I'll need it.